Dear Pedro Ayandokun,
Both approaches - the positivist and the classical approach in
criminology - attempt to explain the phenomenon of criminality in our
society. However, they differ in their explanations of the reasons for
criminality, and on its characteristics.
The classicists belive that:
"All people are guided by free will
All behavior is guided by hedonism (pleasure/pain calculation)
All crime is the result of free will and hedonism
All punishment should fit the offense (equal treatment under law)
Bad people are nothing more that the result of bad laws "
(Source: O'Connor, T.R. "CLASSICAL AND POSITIVIST SCHOOLS OF
CRIMINOLOGY", From: LECTURE NOTES FOR JUS 301 CRIMINOLOGY, Justice
North Carolina Wesleyan College
On the other hand, the postivists believe that crime is a sympthom of
societal problems, and not of a "soft hand" or "bad laws":
"The demand for facts, for scientific proof (determinism)
There are body and mind differences between people (of these, the mens
rea, or reasons for committing crime are important)
Punishment should fit the individual criminal, not the crime
(indeterminate sentencing, disparate sentencing, parole)
The criminal justice system should be guided by scientific experts
(rule by scientific elite, technocracy)
Criminals can be treated, rehabilitated, or corrected (if not, then
they are incurable and should be put to death)".
Akers, R. (2000) Criminological Theories: Introduction, Evaluation,
and Application. Los Angeles: Roxbury.
Cullen, F. & R. Agnew (2003) Criminological Theory: Past to Present.
Los Angeles: Roxbury.
Martin, R., R. Mutchnick & W.T. Austin (1990) Criminological Theory:
Pioneers Past and Present. NY: Macmillan.
Pelfrey, W. (1980) The Evolution of Criminology. Cincinnati: Anderson.
Williams, F. & M. McShane (1998) Criminological Theory. NJ: Prentice Hall.
[The above are bibliographical references of O'Connor, T.R. "CLASSICAL
AND POSITIVIST SCHOOLS OF CRIMINOLOGY", From: LECTURE NOTES FOR JUS
301 CRIMINOLOGY, Justice Studies Department North Carolina Wesleyan
College <http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/301/301lect02.htm>; the
following are his links:].
Cecil Greek's Notes on the Classical School
Cecil Greek's Notes on the Positivist School
Classical and Positive Schools at CrimeTheory.com
I hope this answered your question. Please contact me if you need any
clarifications on this answer before you tip/rate it.